Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Muslim Nations' Diplomats Studying the Church

So diplomats from Muslim countries are taking a three-week course on the Catholic Church and the Holy See's international politics. Participants learn about "the organization and functioning of diverse organizations of the Holy See, the diplomatic activities of nunciatures and the humanitarian activities of the Church that promote peace," Cardinal Bertone told Vatican Radio. You can read more about it on Zenit.

Now I'm all about soft power and dialogue and I realize the Church is not a typical international actor jostling for power. But still, I have to ask, is this a good idea? Are these visiting diplomats really interested in peace and dialogue and understanding, or are they interested in figuring out how the enemy works so they can better manipulate and divide him? I suspect there is some of both going on. The boys at the Vatican need to be careful that they craft their program in such a way as to strengthen the one group, while stonewalling the other. Christ admonished us to be "simple as doves," but also demanded that we be "clever as serpents" (Mt 10:16). Some days I think the Vatican's Secretariat of State could use a little more of the latter.

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4 Comments:

  • And yet, love demands that we take risks. Certainly, opening ourselves up to the world at large is a risk, but we must seek common ground for the sake of the Gospel, even it means some might take advantage.

    It has been observed that the Catholic Church has more in common with Islam than with the secularist movements in the world. Let all of us who worship the one true God stand together and bear witness to His goodness and mercy.

    By Blogger Paul, at 1:12 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • While I understand the sentiment, I do not see how one could "craft" this sort of program so as to favor those seeking dialogue over those seeking information regarding the enemy. Either you provide the information or you don't; what happens afterwards depends on the heart of he who receives said information.

    As for common cause between the Church & Islam...I'm not so sure that there's quite as much common ground here as some seem to think. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" can be a useful strategy, but it is also dangerous; one must be careful not that one properly identifies the true enemy before making common cause against him.

    I am not entirely certain whether secularism is more of a threat or an annoyance; or if alliance with Islam is truly necessary to defeat it. And it is not entirely clear to me that an alliance with Islam would gain the Church any lasting gratitude or goodwill among Muslims.

    The concepts of "useful idiot" and "fifth column" should also be kept in mind.

    By Blogger Avenging Sword, at 7:44 AM, May 10, 2007  

  • AS,

    I disagree with you about the Catholic Church and Islam. We do have much in common. While certainly, it is beyond the view of some radicals to see it, nonetheless, we all worship the God of Abraham, the one true God. And, where Islam stresses mercy, there is much we might accomplish together for the sake of loving God and neighbor.

    I've never advocated that an enemy of an enemy is a friend. One unites to a friend because of something shared. Merely having a common antagonism is insufficient, as ultimately, antagonisms must pass.

    If you don't think secularism is a threat, then you haven't noticed its destructive influence manifest in the life of someone you care about...

    But I think something needs clarification: the reason for Catholics to ally with Muslims is ultimately because of common brotherhood in respect to the Almighty, and from the point of view of the Catholic, hope that the truth of the Gospel might also permeate the relationship.

    Vocabularies that reduce these matters to questions of 'use' or attempt to play up conflict miss the point. We're to love, not conquer. We don't love so that we might conquer, but because love is of God, and in loving, we are with God.

    By Blogger Paul, at 9:02 AM, May 10, 2007  

  • Well, I'm sure that all the Vatican guys that read our blog will get him a note.

    By Blogger Nathan, at 4:32 PM, May 10, 2007  

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